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Thursday, September 29, 2022

UNIDO renews commitment to advance Gambia’s industrialization agenda

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By Oumie Bojang

The first steering committee meeting of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization UNIDO’s country program 2022-2025 was held this week with a renewed commitment to support Gambia’s industrialization agenda to enhance its productive and trade capacities towards increased food security, income and employment generation, poverty reduction and economic transformation.

The steering committee provides overall strategic direction for the UNIDO country program including project prioritization, and ensures that the programme is implemented effectively, with adequate funding.

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It also monitors the alignment of the program with relevant national policies, strategies and industrial growth targets.

Speaking at the event held at the Kairaba beach hotel in Kololi, UNIDO’s country representative Christophe Yevotte stated that the country Program is designed to support the national industrialization agenda and anchor the collaboration between the government and UNIDO on the path towards Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development (ISID) which was mandated to UNIDO by its Member States through the 2013 Lima Declaration.

He said the piloting phase included Ethiopia and Senegal, both of which have experienced a significant increase in the number and scope of technical cooperation initiatives, including the Integrated Agro-Industrial Parks in Ethiopia and agro-poles in Senegal.

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“Being the responsible UNIDO representative for both The Gambia and Senegal, I shall personally support replication of good practices and lessons learned through the PCP Senegal and encourage close cooperation between the two countries in the future,” he pledged.

Mr. Yevotte expressed gratitude to the ‘fruitful and long-standing working relations between his organization, the government, private sector and civil society.

Trade Minister Seedy Keita expressed optimism that the country program will help in the implementation of the national development plan notably through value chains, agro-industry, agriculture, fisheries, strengthening national quality infrastructure and promoting green industrialization.

Minister Keita added that the initiative will also go a long way in improving access to electricity, increase the renewable energy generation from 2% to 40% of the population, increase electricity installed capacity from 102 to 250 MW as well as reduce electricity losses from 25 to 17 percent and reduce youth unemployment.

“The program, if fully implemented, will secure the country on the path of inclusive and sustainable development which would benefit all Gambians and be a great source of job creation. An example of this is the UNIDO partnership with Senegal, which led to the development of Diamniadio industrial park, through this their government has been able to mobilize hundreds of millions of dollars in public and private investment” minister Keita remarked.

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